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Special Extended Return of the King DVD to Street Dec. 14

Its official: The four-disc THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING SPECIAL EXTENDED DVD EDITION (New Line Home Ent., $39.99) will hit stores on Dec. 14. As expected, it will contain more than 50 minutes of new footage, including a cameo by director Peter Jackson being quelled by an arrant arrow, and 300 new vfx shots (for a 250-minute running time). A five-disc collectors gift set, featuring a 52-minute film composing doc, will sell for $79.99.

The Oscar-winning film will be presented on discs one and two, along with four newly recorded audio commentaries by director Peter Jackson, the writers, the design and production teams (including Richard Taylor) and the cast. The cast commentary will also feature a dialogue between split-personality characters Gollum and Smeagol by Andy Serkis.

Disc Three (The War of the Ring) will include a video introduction by Jackson, The Legacy of Middle-earth doc, the From Book to Script: Forging the Final Chapter doc, an abandoned concept featurette: Aragorn Battles Sauron, the final parts of the Designing Middle-earth, Big-atures, Weta Workshop and Costume Design docs, design galleries with more than 2,100 images (divided into The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Realms of Middle-earth and Miniatures), the Home of the Horse Lords doc and more interactive Middle-earth Atlas: Tracing the Journeys of the Fellowship and New Zealand as Middle-earth interactive maps (with production footage).

Disc Four (The Passing of an Age) will include a video introduction by Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan, the final part of the Cameras in Middle-earth doc on the making of the film, a production photo gallery with more than 60 images, the last part of the Weta Digital visual effects doc, a multi-angle The Mumakil Battle interactive demonstration, the Editorial: Completing the Trilogy, Music for Middle-earth, The Soundscapes of Middle-earth and The End of All Things docs, The Passing of an Age doc, the Cameron Duncan: The Inspiration for Into the West doc, the DFK6498 and Strike Zone short films.